Universities Minister visits Open University campus

Robert Halfon and the OU delegation stood in the University Library, under the 'Tree of Learning'. u

The Open University campus in Milton Keynes played host to Robert Halfon MP – Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education – on Thursday, 14 December.

During his time on campus, Mr Halfon met with Margaret Greenaway (OU Students Association President), Tim Blackman (Vice-Chancellor of The Open University) and a number of Open University students and staff members. The Minister was also joined by Ben Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North.

As part of his visit, the Minister held a roundtable discussion with OU students about distance-learning studying, described by Emma Neill (Open University Senior Manager) as “really positive”, “amazing” and “very inspiring”. Margaret Greenaway, the Association President, played a big part in the discussion:

“When it came to my turn to speak about my OU journey, I did squeeze in the importance of funding, so that students can successfully study,” said Margaret. “I stressed that English students are at a disadvantage when it comes to part-time, distance study as they are unable to access maintenance loans/grants (unlike in other nations). I personalised this by stating that without financial support, I would not have been able to begin study or achieve my degree, as especially now, family and bills etc must come first.”

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, said:

“I was delighted to welcome the Minister back to our Milton Keynes campus to hear from students and alumni about the incredible role the OU plays in transforming people’s lives through quality higher education distance-learning. Government support for lifelong learning matters now more than ever.”

Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, said:

“Distance learning at The Open University is a catalyst for social justice in education, allowing people to study and gain qualifications around the demands of life.

“It’s a pathway that transcends boundaries, making quality learning accessible to diverse communities. By championing flexibility, they are not just imparting knowledge but also fostering a more inclusive educational landscape – ensuring the ladder of opportunity is extended to all.”